Liverpool may still need seven of the remaining nine points left to win in order to guarantee the club's first title of the Premier League era, but Chelsea's shock loss at home to relegation-threatened Sunderland on Saturday all but dashes the hopes of one of their challengers and leaves it a race between Liverpool and Manchester City. And that's thanks to a Liverpool loanee.
Sunderland defeating Chelsea in the circumstances already seems shocking enough, but it becomes even more so when one considers that in 77 previous home league matches with Jose Mourinho in charge, the Blues had never been defeated. It becomes even more so when it's Fabio Borini on loan from Liverpool stepping up to the spot to score the winning goal for the visitors.
"I like to make history," said Sunderland's match winner following their historic victory. "This season has been fantastic for me and I achieved a few things that will always be in the history of Sunderland, like this game. It is a great target when you come here and you play against a team that never gets beaten at home and you have the chance to be the first."
Though they're still sat bottom of the table, after earning four hard points in less than a week against Chelsea and City, Sunderland find themselves slight favourites to survive. This is mostly thanks to a relatively easy final four matches and the best goal differential differential of the league's four worst sides. They also have a game in hand on the sides they're fighting with for survival.
At present, Norwich, Cardiff, and Fulham have all played 35 games and stand on 32, 30, and 30 points respectively. Sunderland have only played 34 games and have 29 points. If they win their game in hand, goal differential will see them leapfrog to safety, and with Cardiff, Fulham, and most especially Norwich facing tougher schedules, doing so seems tantalisingly possible.
"I thought only about Sunderland because this is the shirt that I'm wearing now," he added, and for the next few weeks at least that's where his focus will remain—even if he could end up an Anfield cult hero for scoring a goal while out on loan. "Obviously I watch the Liverpool games and I'm happy when they win and play well, but my first thoughts are with Sunderland."
Elsewhere amongst Liverpool's long list of loanees, Oussama Assaidi made his return from injury in the closing minutes of Stoke's draw with Cardiff, Michael Ngoo scored for Walsall in their draw with Carlisle, and Pepe Reina's mistake led to Udinese's equaliser as they drew with Napoli.
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